iCloud , which has just been released this afternoon and is available today to developers and in autumn to everyone, arrives to solve a historical defect. The cloud was a pending subject for Apple. Despite Mobile Me, or maybe because of it, MacOS had never been well enough integrated with online storage and other advantages of working
As much as it has been recalled these days, many years ago Jobs worked by accessing a server that centralized all his documents, the integration for the user was very poor. In fact, the arrival of external services such as Dropbox had alleviated the shortcomings of MacOS, MobileMe and iOS in this regard.
But now, Apple has just introduced iCloud and, with all its features already officially announced, we can’t help but say loudly, “This time, yes. (and perhaps, quietly, “it’s about time”). We review all its features below and remind you of its price… what? how? that almost everything is free?
iCloud: Your entire Apple ecosystem connected in real time
Apple has decided that it no longer makes sense for our Mac to be the place where all the data is centralized. We need to synchronize everything at the time we want , bring the content and data from the applications wherever we are.
iCloud integrates with all applications, both mobile and desktop. Everything has been rewritten, including MobileMe, to work with iCloud, and activating it is as easy as putting our ID and list in. It’s not, therefore, a trivial change: is not a simple dropbox , but a paradigm shift. In fact, Apple killed MobileMe today and what were its services (calendar, email, calendar) are now free.
In iCloud we will centralize everything we do in the App Store, in iBooks and in iTunes , and we will store there the backups of our devices, our photos, preferences, documents. More than PC-Free, this is USB-Free . However, as long as we do it on Wi-Fi, with 3G many of the procedures would end up with our data rates.
iCloud and documents: iWork (and everything else) goes into the cloud
With the death of MobileMe, Apple has also loaded iDisk. Hardly anyone will miss it, and we’ll say goodbye with even less sadness after learning that iCloud will also allow you to store all documents from, say, iWork and access them on any device quickly and easily.
Apple promises to make a comfortable cloud without making access to documents a torture. Yes, that’s another good reason to kill MobileMe and make sense of your entire North Carolina data center.
Steve Jobs has insisted in the Keynote that the iCloud system aims to be as simple as possible, and that for the user there are no barriers. Everything in the Apple ecosystem is connected, including third-party applications, which will be able to adapt to Apple’s new cloud through APIs, already available for both Mac and PC.
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We will have 5GB free (Dropbox, for example, offers 2GB) for documents only. This means that neither our music, apps nor photos will be within that capacity limit. What Amazon had so cleverly designed for its cloud music service, Apple has replicated for all of iCloud.
Photo Stream: iCloud is not a photo storage service
Apple knows, and has said, that the cameras on its devices have succeeded and become commonplace. From now on, iCloud will synchronize all our reels in Photostream , but, watch out, only the last thousand photos we take, which are saved for only 30 days.
This is not a photo storage service , it is not Flickr. In the absence of further analysis, this seems to be the weakest part of all iCloud.
iTunes in the Cloud: We’re not talking about streaming, but we are talking about a triumph
iTunes in the cloud . There were so many options for Apple to approach its cloud music service that we didn’t know which one Apple would go for. Finally, the iTunes of the iCloud era is neither Lala nor Spotify. It’s “just” an iTunes that we can access at any time to download our music collection, and not just the one we buy from Apple!
For 25 dollars a year, iTunes scans our library , recognizes those songs you have in the Store, gives them to us at 256kbps to have them always accessible from iCloud and uploads the rest of our music library to the cloud.
That is to say, does not give streaming , but whenever we have connection, we will be able to download the music that we want to listen and that we already had in our hard disk of house.
Among the other novelties we found:
- Re-downloads: We buy a song and we can always download it from any of our devices
- Automatic downloads: whenever we buy a song, it will be automatically downloaded to the rest of our devices, if we wish. The maximum limit will be 10 devices.
Apple’s bet on iTunes Match is a clear win. It gives apparently fair treatment to the record companies , bets on buying songs but also on a subscription model for those who prefer it and fills with meaning so many ripped cds that we’ve ever wanted to listen to but haven’t been able to access because we’re far from our library.
It gives, therefore, reasons to the users (it allows to have our mp3s at home, it is not something like Spotify, which can take them away from us) and to the record business. At the moment and without checking how it behaves in daily use, iTunes+iCloud is a success as a concept.
Soon we will give you more data and analysis about everything that iCloud implies and the rest of the new features presented today by Apple in the keynote of the WWDC2011 .